Kyung-Hwa Ryu, a specialist of traditional Korean rhythms, deploys her multiple
talents as composer, ensemble director and instrumentalist covering the range
from pure Korean tradition to world music, from improvisation to creation.
Born in 1968, Kyung-Hwa Ryu, entered the world of Korean traditional music
at the age of four when she began to take dancing lessons.
She trained at the National High School for Korean Traditional Music, at Seoul
University and at the National University of the Arts, and she has a doctorate in
musicology from Hanyang University. She plays the zither geomungo and
performs various traditional dances, but it is in the art of the cheolhyeongeum and
percussion instruments that she has, over the past few years, established her
reputation as a performer and mediator between Korean traditional music and
She studied with many Korean masters: Kim Yong-bae for percussion, Bak
Byeong for the shamanic ritual ssitgimgut, Kim Jeong-hui and Kim Myeong-dae
for the byeolsingut; Kim Jeong-su introduced her to the rhythms of court music
while Lee Tae-baek taught her folk rhythms and Jeong Hwa-young how to play
the drum which accompanies the pansori.
Kyung-Hwa Ryu to improvise with Kang Tae-hwan and was initiated in the
Indian tabla by Pandit Divyang Vakil. Lastly, Seong Chang-soon, the famous
master of the pansori drama Simcheong-ga, taught her the compositions of Kim
Yeong-cheol, the creator of the cheolhyeongeum, making her an heiress of the
second generation of the School of Kim Yeong-cheol. She is also a composer
and directs the E-do world music ensemble.
Kyung-Hwa Ryu has several accolaes to her credit: “Promising Artist” from the
Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports Tourism (2002); “Artist of the year” with her
first cheolhyeongeum recital (2004); KBS Grand Prize for traditional music in the
category of stringed instruments (2011), thereby contributing to the recognition
of this largely unknown instrument, even in Korea. Lastly, her work Dream of the
Great King Sejong allowed the Seoul Metropolitan Youth Traditional Music
Orchestra to win the prize for the Best interpretation at the Grand Prize for
traditional music Creation in 2014. In the same year, the Korean magazine
NewMaker awarded her the prize for innovation.
• National High School for Korean Traditional Music.
• B.A from Seoul National University.
• MFA from Korea National University of the Arts.
• Ph.D from Hanyang University.
• 2002 - “Promising Artist” from the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
• 2004 - “Artist of the Year” from the Arts Council of Korea.
• 2011 - “Grand Award for Traditional Music in the Category of Stringed Instruments” from the ‘Korean Broadcasting System’.
• 2014 - “Innovation Award” from the monthly magazine ‘NewsMaker’.
• 2015~Professor at the Korea National University of Arts.
• 2011~2021 Musical Director of the World Music Ensemble ‘E-Do’.
• 2013~2018 Art Director of the Seoul Metropolitan Youth Traditional Music Orchestra.
• 2020~Art Director of the National Theater of Korea’s ‘Yeowoorak Festival’.